Automatic braking will become a standard feature on cars produced by ten major automakers.
The technology, which uses cameras, lasers or radar to sense an impending collision and apply the brakes automatically, will be made available as standard equipment in all car, SUV and truck models sold by Ford, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Tesla and Volvo. These ten automakers account for more than half of all vehicles sold in the U.S.
Currently, automatic braking is available as an option or as standard equipment on certain luxury vehicles.
The news was announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which is a private auto safety group funded by the insurance industry.
An IIHS spokesman said that automatic braking is especially effective in preventing rear-end collisions, most of which are caused by human error such as distracted driving. According to government statistics, there were 1,700 deaths and 500,000 injuries caused by rear-end collisions in 2012 alone.
According to IIHS, automatic braking systems can cause a 35 percent reduction in auto insurance injury claims.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended in June that automatic braking become standard in all vehicles.
Starting with the 2012 model year, electronic stability control, which helps drivers keep control in a skid, became standard on all cars.